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Things To Do In Scottsdale : 29 Adventures

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Scottsdale, AZ

Trying to figure out great things to do in Scottsdale? You’ve come to the right place…there are numerous adventures waiting for you in the “West’s Most Western Town”. Here, you can learn a little more about the city and the things to do nearby.

City Facts

Scottsdale had a population of 217,385 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The city covers a little more than 184 square miles, but is bordered by the larger city of Phoenix. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is one of the largest in the state. Both cities are located in the “Valley of the Sun”, known geographically by the less-descriptive name “Salt River Valley”.

The Valley contains the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. It is just to the east of the McDowell Mountain Range, a chain of extinct volcanoes with peaks as high as 4,033 feet above sea level.

The city has continually ranked as one of the premier golf and resort destinations in the world and is the site of the annual Phoenix Open. Many of the things to do in Scottsdale revolve around the golf experience, but the area is popular even with non-golfers.

The city has been called a “desert version of Miami’s South Beach” because of the nightlife and shopping opportunities. There are bars, restaurants and nightclubs, primarily located in Old Town Scottsdale. Fashion Square, one of the twenty largest shopping malls in the United States, is also located in Old Town.

The Arts District is adjacent to Old Town and is the location of numerous galleries and museums; many of the exhibits feature paintings and other artwork inspired by the Old West. The “Jack Knife”, a life-size sculpture of a bucking horse created by Ed Mell, serves as the centerpiece for the district.

Best Times to Visit

Because of the arid climate, even the high temperatures of June, July and August are tolerable. The town does not cool off as much at night as other desert locations. The average difference between daily highs and nightly lows is about 20 degrees.

Scottsdale is a popular destination for people from northern parts of the country. Snow and temperatures below 40 degrees are rare. The average high in December and January is a comfortable 68 degrees.

When it comes to what to do in Scottsdale, golfing certainly tops the list. The peak golf season is January through April. The temperatures on the courses from July through September can be 100 degrees or more during the middle of the day. If you want to take advantage of the low green fees during off-season, it’s best to schedule your tee time very early in the morning.

Things to Do in Scottsdale

Taking to the air sometimes is the best way to see things and Scottsdale Hot Air Ballooning offers some of the best options in the world.

Scottsdale GolfingGolfing is just one of the things to do in Scottsdale, but since it is one of the most popular, let’s start with the courses. There are four popular golf courses in the city and several smaller ones. The four most popular are the Talking Stick, the Camelback, the Kierland Golf Course and the Stadium. Golf lessons are available at most of the courses for a fee.

To add some variety to your golf trip, you might consider taking the AZ Skins Golf Tour. The tour is an organized event for amateurs that lets you put a little money on the line. Since there are weekly events, you should be able to take part, no matter when you are travelling.

For a Wild West adventure, you should visit MacDonald’s Ranch, the number one destination in the area for horseback riding. Activities include free pony rides for the kids and guided horseback rides through the 1280 acres of the Sonoran Desert located on the ranch. Another popular choice is the Stagecoach Ride, which takes you on the original stagecoach road that ran to Phoenix.

If you prefer a different mode of transportation, you can take a Segway tour through Old Town Scottsdale with its Old West charm. Segway tours also run through the Greenbelt park system where you’ll find gentle hills, lakes and mountain vistas.

The Legacy Tour is another of the popular Scottsdale tours. Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the area’s famous residents. He designed many homes in the area, including his own winter home, Taliesin West. You can tour many of these homes if you take the Legacy Tour. You can take the tour pretty much any time of the year.

There are many other sightseeing tours of places and attractions in and around the area. Sedona and Montezuma Castle are just a short trip away. You can schedule a Van Tour to view these landmarks in comfort.

You can tour the desert in a jeep, riding on an ATV or even from an inflatable raft. Having a tour guide really makes a difference. You see things you might have missed if you were sightseeing on your own. Sometimes, you just don’t know what you are looking at and it helps to have a local area expert with you.

Where to Stay

Whether you are looking for luxury or budget accommodations, there’s plenty to choose from in the Scottsdale area. These three made the U.S. News list of the best hotels in Arizona.

  • Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North – Located in North Scottsdale at Pinnacle Peak, this award-winning hotel and resort features two championship golf courses, two swimming pools, tennis courts, three restaurants and a full-service spa.

  • Phoenician ResortThe Phoenician – Many rooms have views of Camelback Mountain. All rooms feature elegant furnishings and private balconies or patios. The resort is located on 250 acres and features a 27-hole championship golf course, a tennis complex, a full-service spa, 10 restaurants, a number of lounges and an art collection valued at $25 million. You’ll be surrounded by beauty.

  • Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – Site of a popular PGA tournament, the Fairmont can accurately be described as palatial. Rooms are equipped with wet bars, private balconies and deep soaking tubs. The outdoor pool is lighted at night and creates an enchanting atmosphere. It is the perfect choice for a luxurious, relaxing vacation.

These choices are a short drive away from all of the popular things to do in Scottsdale. They get good reviews from visitors, as well as reporters, so you’ll certainly enjoy your stay.

Where to Eat

There are hundreds of restaurants in the area. These three were chosen for their unique menus and inviting décor.

  • Lon’s at the Hermosa – offering American and Southwestern cuisine, as well as local specialties. Pick a night to go when you can sit on the patio and enjoy the desert sky. The fresh-baked brioche is delicious.

  • Cowboy Ciao – the atmosphere is as whimsical as the name. The American and Southwestern cuisine is popular with Scottsdale residents and you should enjoy it, too. If you’ll be there on Sunday, try one of the brunch dishes.

  • The Mission – a great choice for a romantic evening filled with candlelight, Southwestern food and soft music. If you’re up for a tasty cocktail, try the Primarita Margarita made with organic agave nectar. It’s yummy!

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you decide where to stay, what to eat and what to do in Scottsdale. Enjoy your visit!

Additional Resources for Scottsdale

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5450 E. Deer Valley Dr.
Phoenix
AZ
85054
United States